Yesterday, my hubby and I were the unfortunate recipients of being pulled over by a police officer. Yes, law-abiding citizens get pulled over once in awhile too. I knew that it wouldn't be too terrible, seeming how we knew exactly what we were being pulled over for. That was not the case however.
Let me back up a bit.
I was "summoned" by my eldest, who lives in a different city (35 min. away), to bring her something that she desperately needed. (This time it was NOT her teddy bear.) When my hubby and I loaded up the children to make the trek, I noticed my front headlight was out. This was not too big a concern to me, and I determined to fix it the very next day. No biggy, right?
Well, we pulled into the area where my daughter lives and parked along the street-side curb so we wouldn't receive a ticket for parking in the student parking lot. We had a great visit with her as my two littlest ran laps up and down her apartment hall (I'm really sorry to my daughter's roomie who was home at the time. I hope we didn't disturb you too much.)
After awhile, it was time to head home. So we made the trek back to our van, piled in and started on our way. Now, there are a couple of ways to get home. The back roads and the main road. My hubby was behind the wheel, and he went to turn down the street that lead to the main road. When I questioned if he was sure he wanted to go that way and brave the craziness of the "main drag" he gave a very definite "YES!"
Well, ok then.
It was no surprise to me when I saw the hypnotizing flash of red and blue lights that signaled a police officer had noticed our headlight-deficient vehicle. Being law abiding citizens, my hubby immediately pulled over to the side of the road.
Now, if you have ever been pulled over, you know what feelings go along with this experience. My hubby immediately became moody and grumpy and decided to not "be nice" to the officer. However, I was in the passenger seat and kept him in check as best as I could.
When the officer came to the window, he asked us if we knew why he pulled us over. We answered that yes we did. It was because of our headlight. We also explained to him that we had just recently, that day, noticed it was out and we planned to fix it the next day. He said that would be great, but he still took my hubby's license back to the patrol car and to run a "check" and be sure all was well.
After what seemed like an eternity, the officer returned to our van. He then asked us if we knew that my hubby's license was expired for over a year plus. This floored us like you wouldn't believe! We are really on top of things like this, but we really had no clue about this. This sent us into a loop, and sent my hubby into being even more grumpy than what he already was.
Needless to say, the officer let us off the hook with just a verbal warning about the headlight, however, he had to give us a ticket for the expired license. He called it a "non-moving violation" that would have to be taken care of through the court. At this point, I started to talk to the officer, cuz I knew that my hubby was on the brink of being unkind and I really didn't want further action to be taken. I politely asked what would happen with this ticket and the officer said that the courts would decide what the penalty would be. He stated that if we presented to the courts the proof that we remedied the situation and took care of all other things, the court could grant us leniency. I guess we'll see on Friday when we go to the court.
After we were dismissed by the officer, my hubby was in a super foul mood, as you can well guess. If you have ever had this experience, you will understand 100%. I tried to talk to him, but his only response was "I hate cops!"
Remember that my two littlest ones were in the back watching a movie, but could hear everything that was said in the front of the van. In order to curb their views on police officers as "bad", I tried to explain to my hubby that the officer was just dong his job. I did not, however, say "I told you not to go down that road" though. (I saved that for the next day. I really don't like to pour salt into an open wound too awful much.)
My point to this tale is this - if you know you are in the wrong, you have no right to get overly disgruntled about the situation. We knew that our headlight was out. We knew that we had to replace it and we were going to. We did not know that the license was expired, but when the officer pointed it out to us, we were determined to remedy the situation the very next day. I would also like to point out that the officer was not rude to us in any way. He was shocked to see that the license was so far past expiration that he had to double check it to see if what he was seeing was correct. He really didn't want to give us the ticket, but because he too is a law-abiding citizen, he had to follow the rules of his job. He didn't want to, but he had to. In short, he was just doing his job. (On the up-side, we didn't get a ticket for parking in the student parking lot!)
It's sort of like being a parent. You tell your children that if they do "such-and-such" they will have to suffer the consequence of "such-and-such". Then when your child does "such-and-such" - because you know they will eventually - you have to enforce the consequence of "such-and-such" even though you really don't want to.
So, before you get your nose out of joint about anything, take a deep breath and try to see the situation from all angles. You may or may not have been in the wrong, but most times there is a reason for each situation. There is no need for grumpiness, bad attitudes, or rudeness. Just act like the adult you claim to be and accept what comes. Always remember the age old advice that "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar". If you remember to be nice and respectful, the officer will treat you with respect as well.